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USDA Partners with Bowling Green State University to Create Livable Communities That Will Attract People and Jobs to Rural Ohio Areas

Heather Stacy
Release Date

Funds Will Support Placemaking and Planning Assistance to Help the People of Rural America Build Back Better

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 8, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is awarding $3 million in cooperative agreements to 13 organizations. These organizations will provide technical assistance to people living in rural and Tribal communities so they can apply for and access government resources for projects that will attract jobs and people, rebuild the economy and pave the way for rural America to build back better.  

“Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA is investing in ways to help people in our nation’s smallest towns and communities access the government funding they need to create more jobs, deploy critical infrastructure, repair their homes or build more and better homes for the community, and so much more,” Torres Small said. “As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on people living in rural places, the Department is targeting resources and leveraging partnerships to enhance the quality of life in rural towns and Tribal areas who need it most. Community and economic development strategies like placemaking are critical to helping the people of rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before.”

In Ohio, Bowling Green State University will use $248,938 to facilitate public engagement and partnership development to help rural communities build their capacity to implement placemaking projects. “The University will help communities implement projects that create a unique sense of place that enhances the quality of life for rural residents and attracts and retains workforce talent,” said Beth Huhn, Acting Ohio State Director. “The assistance will benefit people in Logan, Ashland, Union, VanWert, Williams, Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Wyandot, Richland and Crawford, Ohio.” Funds will also be used to help develop a comprehensive placemaking strategy for each community that identifies ways to expand or reimagine existing community assets or amenities.

The Department is making the awards under the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC). Placemaking is a collaborative planning and technical assistance process that helps leaders from rural communities create quality places where people will want to live, work, visit and learn.  

The investments will help people in rural and Tribal communities in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Puerto Rico.

The organizations will work directly with people in rural communities to develop plans that will ensure people have access to high-speed internet in their homes, are able to live in affordable houses, have access to safe and reliable transportation to go to school and work, and more. This assistance will support the communities for up to two years.

USDA will announce in the coming months additional communities that will receive placemaking assistance. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/rpic.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


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